Marist got funky on Friday night with their tenth win of the season in a 79-58 victory led by a dominant performance from senior Ryan Funk.
Coming off a big road win over Canisius in overtime, Marist was looking to keep the momentum against a Niagara team that was hoping to rebound back to .500 after a tough home loss to Quinnipiac. Chris Casey’s squad never really looked comfortable at any point in the game, allowing a mirage of backdoor cuts and easy layups for Marist on the defensive end.
Marist started the game off red hot from three with Ryan Funk leading the way and never looked back. The senior came alive off the bench and tallied 27 points while tying a season high in three pointers with 7. His first miss from the field wouldn’t come until more than 15 minutes into the first half. “When we’re moving the ball around, it really helps me get open,” Funk said following his big outing. His teammates soon joined in as the Red Foxes went on to hit 14 shots from deep and shoot 59.6% from the field. “When Ryan shoots the ball like that, we’re tough to beat,” said head coach John Dunne.
It wasn’t all shooting that led to the victory as the Red Foxes combined for 21 assists on the night. Marist’s 21 assists compared to only 7 converted by Niagara soon became a focal point in the game. Coming off a 17-point outburst against Canisius, Aleksander Dozic was an unexpected playmaker for Marist as he dished out 7 assists to go along with 11 points and 7 rebounds in the win. “I’m really proud of the effort,” Dunne said. “Offensively, I thought we were extremely unselfish.”
After seeing very little action during the second half of his last outing, leading scorer Brian Parker scored only 8 points and continued to see his minutes dwindle as he only played in 21 minutes in the win. The senior is averaging 28.6 minutes per game, the team’s highest so far this season.
Fans in attendance were thoroughly pleased with the performance from the team. A great atmosphere from the supporters helped create the backing that Marist needed to get the victory.
“The atmosphere was contagious and you could tell the guys fed off of it,” said Tom Martinelli, a fan in attendance. “It was a sight to behold and everyone seemed like they were having a blast.”
The students also expressed their delight in the win. The band, cheerleaders, and dance team all helped energize the crowd throughout the rout.
“It was really awesome to see them play as such a team and to watch Ryan play the way he did,” said junior John Sasso, a student in attendance. “A performance like that is all you can ask for as a fan coming to these games.”
The Red Foxes will be looking for revenge next Friday as they travel to Quinnipiac to take on MAAC leading scorer Cameron Young and the Bobcats.
After the game, Funk wanted anything but to make it about himself. “I feel like we’re getting better,” the senior said. “I’m happiest to do this in front of the fans